Big Things

IMG_12482 years ago, I met Mark at WOOD TV 8. We were both interns, and we became friends at a community event when I saw him struggling to tie balloons [due to a pair of giant thumbs]. As I helped Mark knot his balloons, we chattered about why we had applied to intern for a TV station. It was then that Mark disclosed that he was my dad’s intern and explained that he wanted to be a Sports Anchor.

The first time I heard Mark’s career goals, I smiled and nodded. It wasn’t the first time someone had told me they wanted to become a Sports Broadcaster, and I sort of assumed that (like most), this was a temporary career goal that seemed fun but would take a backseat to more practical or attainable career options.

But that was before I really knew Mark Pearson.

IMG_8245Throughout our internship, I was presently surprised by Mark’s natural gift for his desired career path. One day, a camera came around to interview the interns; while most of us fumbled over some of our words or overused filler phrases (“like,” “um”), he was personable, warm, entertaining, and concise.

By the end of our internship, I knew that he was going to do big things; I knew he would attain the career he had told me he wanted—the kid was built to be a Sports Anchor.

But there’s something different about Mark which renders far more celebration than his natural talent on air or his vast sports knowledge-

when the cameras turn off, he’s just as incredible.

IMG_8247There are a lot of people who can turn on the charm for a camera or raise ratings. There are a lot of people who chase careers in television for the perks of the job. And then there’s Mark.

Mark is the kind of person chose his career path because he cares about people and he loves to learn and tell their stories.  He is someone who asks good questions and genuinely listens to the answers. He is someone who cares more about sharing stories than he cares about being on TV.

He is not chasing fame. He is not seeking the spotlight; he is a person who wants nothing more than to inspire others by sharing the stories of athletes. He sees beyond the helmet, behind the face-mask, beyond the superstardom of the players.

13339620_10205586740302610_3991983545110807796_nHe sees the years of hard work that these athletes invested and the families that back them. He lives for the moments Miggy tosses a pair of batting gloves to a child fan even more than he enjoys celebrating one of his homers.

This is why even it’s so easy to celebrate Mark’s new job, despite the states and miles and hours it temporarily places between us: Mark has combined his gift for connecting with others, his love for the game, and his desire to inspire others by showing the stories of courage and optimism that often take a backseat to our knowledge of an athlete’s payroll.

On the last day of Mark’s internship at WOOD TV, I shook his hand and told him, “You’re going to do big things.” This morning, Mark & I shared a teary hug as he left for the airport, and I recited the same phrase.
“You’re going to do big things.”

IMG_1199These “big things” have nothing to do
with his gradual increase of Twitter followers since the station announced his hire. These “big things” have nothing to do with the status of the athletes he will interview. These Big Things have everything to do with a person who has worked so hard to achieve his dreams, and done so with integrity and optimism. These Big Things have everything to do with a person who is using his gifts & his passions to make the world a better place.

Cheers to Mark. Cheers to his next adventure. Cheers to WDAZ for making the greatest hire possible (though I may be biased). And Cheers to big things.




Internship Thoughts

I have fallen behind on my internship journal, however, this doesn’t mean that I have stopped learning! I am in my last few weeks of my internship, and I am so happy with the way things have gone. 

I got to do some fantastic things over the past couple weeks. For one, I got to do my first stand up! No, I’m not talking comedy; I’m talking about standing in front of the camera and speaking. This was one of those things I have been wanting to do for a long time, but it still makes me nervous! 

I got to do my stand up while I was with eightWest at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Not only did I get to do my stand up, but I also got to use “Baby Cam”, our mini camera. It felt good to shoot material, and today I even saw some of my shots air on eightWest! The experience really feels real when I see my work on air; it felt really good! 

Believe it or not, this was not even the best part of my internship! Last week, Maranda gave me a special assignment. Maranda was putting together a college package for her show, and she sent me on a mission to shop for a few must have items for college students. 

I got to run to Meijer and purchase a few items, and the next day I was able to talk about why college students might need these commonly forgotten, out-of-the-box items. I will upload the links to this as soon as it airs (which is supposed to be tonight). 

During this trip to Ferris, I was able to develop my friendships with Maranda, Heather (Maranda’s producer), and Michael (Maranda’s cameraman). During our lunch at a Mexican restaurant, Maranda was asking me to give my insights on some people. She kept encouraging me to use my ability to read people, and that was very encouraging to see that someone noticed one of my strengths. 

The drive was so much fun, and I realized I really want a job that allows me to interact with people. I also know I do NOT want a desk job. I like getting out of the office and doing new things every day! 

Today I got to go out on a shoot with Leon Hendrix, a reporter at WOOD TV 8, and Joe Prince, one of the new camera men. I had a great talk with Joe, and I felt like I was able to gain some more insight toward what I want in my future and in a career. I loved being on the road, and it was really cool to be the first person to know what was going on. 

There was something so powerful about sitting in the home of a heartbroken family as they spoke about their loss in a murder, their frustration with a cold case, and their reopened wounds as the case was solved. The experience was very emotionally charged, and I though I feel terrible about the circumstances, I am glad I was there to watch the process unfold. 

I was amazed to see places and people I never would normally have gone, like the courthouse. I sat in on part of the trial of a man who may go to jail for life, and then sat in on an interview with the family of the victim. It was a strange feeling to hear the story from both sides, witness both emotions, and see a story put together out of the material. 

Today I learned: 

1. Take the time to make others feel valued

2. Ask for advice from every one around you

3. Listen carefully to the advice and insights of others

4. Listen for God’s voice throughout the day…if you ask him for answers to prayer, he will answer you; you just have to listen! 

Day 23

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but today was the very last Maranda Park Party of the summer. After weeks of filling up balloons, tying strings, and smiling on at kids who gleefully collected their free prizes, the festivities have wound down. 

The final park party took place in Battle Creek. At the beginning, I got to walk around with Mallory, one of the interns I met this summer, and help the different businesses set up their booths. We had fun chatting about our boyfriends while we munched on free red delicious apples, courtesy of the Meijer booth. 

I got to work the Fire Escape station during the park party, which means that I gave people a lot of surveys about fire safety, along with quizzing them on a few questions about their favorite aspects of park parties. I was surprised by how many people were so up to date on their fire safety knowledge, only to learn later that many of them had experienced losses due to fires. Some of them had lost their homes, and some of them had even suffered the painful loss of a family member. I was blown away to hear these sad stories, and it really opened my eyes to a community that has felt a lot of hurt. 

The park party went by pretty quickly, and before I knew it, we were all piling into our big family van and driving over to get some ice cream. I got some delicious blueberry marble and lemon chiffon ice cream…it was fantastic; everything tasted so fresh and delicious! On the way back to the station, I was able to quiz the driver (a former producer) on the ins and outs of the new room. It was cool to hear the inside scoop on the positives and negatives of the business. 

My park party experience was a wonderful one. I am really going to miss spending so much time with all of the other interns! I really hope i can go back at some point to volunteer next year! 

Day 22

There are some days that are just plain fun. 

Today would be one of those. 

Today a comedian, Bobcat, came in to the studio. I got to chat with Bobcat a little bit, and was pleasantly surprised that he remembered my name when he left the station. A lot of my coworkers were excitedly chattering about Bobcat, but since he was a little before my time, I wasn’t completely sure who he was. When I had to walk Bobcat out, I asked him if it ever gets old begin asked to pose for pictures all the time instead of being treated like a regular guy. Bobcat laughed and started to answer, “Oh it’s not too b…..well, you know what? I don’t have to lie to you; yeah, it gets old. Sometimes I just wanna do my laundry!” We laughed and he thanked me for walking him out. 

After the shoot rapped up, I talked style, food, and fitness with Amanda, the photojournalist. Amanda is a lot of fun, so I really enjoyed chatting with her while she taught me how to edit. 

Since today was a shorter day of work (a Friday), and I had a blind dog to go babysit, I got to head out early to go care for a sassy, sightless hound. 

Today made me appreciate the things that come along with enjoying my coworkers, and keeping an eye open for joyful moments that sparkle subtly throughout my work day! 

Day 20


Park Party #3 took place in Ionia and doubled as an event with the Ionia Free Fair! Even though it was quite a drive, everyone was pretty excited for this park party. The people from Ionia have been known as some of the most grateful and kind Park Party guests, and we were excited to meet some new people in a totally differential location. 

I was so excited about my task for this party! Brad, a fellow intern, and I were given the task of putting together an internship video for the park party. I made a checklist of the different shots we wanted to capture, and Brad used my DSLR to capture them. One of the requests Maranda had made was to have every intern take a selfie at their park party position. Brad and I really got to enjoy the park party, because we were able to run around and experience every aspect of it. I loved being able to talk to the people, like when I was able to chat with a group of little girls sporting sparkly princess dresses as they patiently waited in line for the inflatable obstacle course. 

This had to be the most fun that I have had at a park party. We started off by blowing up and tying balloons, and we turned this into an impromptu dance party. We pretended to swim in the balloons, and we rubbed them on our hair to make staticky memories.


The action continued when we found a baby bunny rabbit relaxing in the shade provided by Maranda’s car. I, being the avid snacker that I am, just so happened to have some carrots in my big brown purse (Evan calls it the “Hermione purse”, because like in the book/movie, I can continuous pull out everything you could ever imagine from a seemingly small bag). I handed the carrot to Maranda’s daughter, Ally, and we tried to cajole the bunny out from under the vehicle…however, the little bunny was not biting…literally. Homegirl was not amused. Finally, Heather, one of the producers spotted the bunny, squealed with delight, and rushed over to pick it up and cradle it lovingly as the bunny squealed with delight…or perhaps for mercy. 

IMG_4682 IMG_4683

Once the festivities kicked up, Brad and I ran around capturing every candid moment that we could spot. We took selfies with Ronald McDonald, the Craig’s Cruisers mascot, and McGruff the Safety dog. I had a blast chatting happily with park party guests and running around capturing their best moments; it felt like a scavenger hunt, as I brainstormed and checked things off of my list as Brad captured them. 

IMG_4698 IMG_4704 IMG_4708

Once the park party wrapped, we hopped in the van and made our way back to the station. This drive was the best park party van experience that I have had. We stopped for ice-cream at McDonald’s, Maranda’s treat, and then continued with some quality conversation. The van was abuzz with laughter and countless rounds of the question game. We shared the way that we had met our significant others, embarrassing moments, chattered joyfully about our favorite Disney movies, and quizzed each other with random inquries, such as, “What was the best date you ever went on?”. By the end of the ride, everyone was laughing, happy, and feeling filled with joy and contentment. Someone said, “This was the best park party ride yet, hands down”, and the rest of us agreed whole-heartedly. 

IMG_4695 IMG_4696 IMG_4701 IMG_4702 IMG_4669 IMG_4672

If I learned anything today, here’s what it is:

1. Make the most of every single moment. CELEBRATE every little thing. If there is a happy dance that needs to be done, do that happy dance! If you want to be goofy and have fun, do it! The job becomes so much more enjoyable when you are fully yourself, and it will brighten everyone else’s day too. Today I was completely out of my shell, and I have never enjoyed a day of my internship more. This was one of the best days that I have had in a really long time, and I am so excited for the next park party. I genuinely hope to take this advice into every day of my life. 

Day 19


There are some days where life surprises you: today was one of those days! 

My friend Holly recently declared her major as Strategic Communications, so she came in to shadow a day during eightWest. We had a blast hanging out together, and I loved having the opportunity to explain all of the things that were happening in order to make the show fit together. It was also just a great experience being able to have a friend come to the office! 

Maranda approached me after eightWest was taped, and asked me if I could make an internship video during the Park Party with another intern, Brad. I was so excited that I almost failed to contain my happy dancing (next time I’ll just bust out the moves, why not celebrate every little smile that life tosses my way?). 

To create a game plan for the movie, Brad, Holly, and I took a field trip lunch date to Herb Thai, a cute Thai place on Wealthy Street. I ordered the chicken and veggie lettuce wraps, and they were delicious! Each of us had a lot of fun eating out spicy meals and gulping down refreshing water as we planned out the video. The lunch date was definitely good food with good company and good conversation. We talked about the mystery of the future, and we discussed the way we relied on God as our peace in the confusion, and our tour guide in our busy, confusing, delightful lives. It was so cool to hear that other people are feeling the same way that I am about the future, and it was even cooler to listen to their faith and determination to follow Jesus and listen to his voice, no matter where he might lead. 

After our lunch date reached an end, I was able to write a web story about the park party. It felt good to be trusted with another responsibility. Holly and I were then able to escort guests for Maranda’s show. We speculated at how differently some of the guests treat us compared to the way they treat the hosts of the shows; sometimes it’s like someone flipped a switch! Holly and I  decided brush it off with laughter instead of taking it personally. 

Holly and I were also given the opportunity to observe what happens in the control room, where the producers have many monitors and buttons in front of them, and they observe the rundown as they talk into the hosts’ ears. It was cool to see a different side of the show that I hadn’t paid much attention to before! 

The day went by quickly, and Holly and I were able to schedule a date to shadow a reporter and broadcaster. We were both incredibly excited, and we cannot wait to hang out together soon! We are hoping to shadow one of the younger reporters who was recently hired, because then we can pick her brain about how she landed her job in such a difficult and competitive field. 

Now, without further ado, here’s what I learned today:

1. View the positives: Even though some of the guests on the show weren’t exactly friendly to us, but they were sugary kind in front of the host(s), Holly and I chose to laugh. We can’t change the way that someone treated us, but we were certainly able to control the way that we responded to it. 

2. Work hard: Because of the hard work that I have been doing, I have been gaining more trust, and therefore, I am enjoying my work more, and I am learning more. Even though it might take a while to build up this trust, it’s so important to establish it through a strong work ethic and a positive attitude, even if it means doing a list of tedious things to earn it. 


Day 18

There are some days that are long, some days that are short. There are some days that drain us, and there are some days that we come home and sit down, letting out a sigh of pride at the tasks we completed, or the things we have learned.

Today was the latter.

Today I cut and ingested videos for WOODTV’s web. It felt liberating to learn how to do something; it made me feel competent and independent. After I had that under my belt, during my lunch break, I started writing the outline to a story I am working on. I already shot the story, but I got to use the creative part of my brain (which is all of it, because I don’t have an ounce of left brain in my body).

I love to write, so it felt so good to roll some words onto my notepad in smooth black ink as I munched on my Asian Salad.

Believe it or not, the fun didn’t stop there. I had the opportunity to do some editing after I sorted through some shirts to toss out at the park party. I sat down while my supervisor, Joy, taught me how to add in B roll (filler footage that helps tell the story) to a story about adorable old ladies who love quilting as they hang out and chatter cheerfully. I had so much fun learning how to do something new, and it helped build my confidence. I love to learn new things, so I really enjoy having a new skill under my belt, even if it’s only a mild understanding of it.

After this, I got to do one of my favorite things: BRAINSTORM. I don’t just brainstorm. I brainmonsoon. I braintornado. I love to use my imagination to generate ideas. I got to go through some magazines and come up with some ideas for segments and packages on eightWest. I also got to think up some potential clients for the show. I had so much fun bouncing ideas off of my supervisor when I found something that seemed like it would captivate some audience interest.

When I left work today, I felt happy and successful, and I am very grateful for such a wonderful day filled to the brim with learning and activity.

So, without further ado, here’s what I learned today:

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even if you feel annoying, ask a million questions. It’s better to feel like a pest and get the job done right than to just sit there in silence and feel stumped and frustrated.

2. Ask for as many things to do as you can. This way you will never be bored, and you will always stay busy, proving that you aren’t afraid of a little work. Plus, the people in your office will appreciate your willingness to help.

3. Make a list of goals that you would like to accomplish. Today Joy had me email her a list of the things I would like to do before I leave eightWest. Today I got to do one of them: editing. Your supervisor (if they are fabulous, like mine) wants you to succeed, so he/she will work to help you achieve any goals that you would like to accomplish. Just remember that your supervisor can’t read your mind, so it’s important that you verbalize your wishes to them, even if you have to do it multiple times; they are busy trying to do enough already, so it might slip their mind if you ask to do something once in passing. Be sure to take the initiation in getting started. Approach your supervisor and ask them when you can get started on the task you would like to charge into! Once you express your interest and enthusiasm, they will be willing and excited to help you achieve your goals!